Co-op Group’s longest-standing director resigns

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THE Co-op Group’s longest-standing director Ben Reid has stepped down from the group board.

Reid, who is the chief executive of the largest independent society, the Midcounties, tendered his resignation this morning following the weekend’s annual meeting where group’s members voted to reform the way the organisation is run.

The crucial vote on proposals, submitted by former City minister and former Co-operative non-ececutive director Lord Myners, were accepted unanimously at the group’s HQ at Angel Square.

Reid has been on the board for 14 years and was one of five representatives of independent societies to have seats because of their 22% share of the group. It is understood he wanted to step down at the start of the year but was asked by the Midcounties to see through the reform process.

The Midcounties was initially critical of the reforms being proposed by Lord Myners, with the president Patrick Gray saying it must be done in a “measured way”.

Reid’s decision means the Co-op now has three vacant seats on its board, following the departure of two representatives from the regional boards.

In a statement the Midcounties said: “Ben Reid has resigned as non-executive director of The Co-operative Group board. He remains chief executive of The Midcounties Co-operative, the UK’s largest independent society. He had informed the group secretariat that he was considering resigning some time ago due to the additional demands that were being placed on him as a result of unprecedented growth at Midcounties Co-operative. However the board of Midcounties asked Ben to stay on until the first stage of the group governance review had been completed.

“Following unanimous acceptance of the Governance proposal at The Co-operative Group AGM and special general meeting on 17 May, the Midcounties board has agreed that Ben can step down with immediate effect. He will now focus on building on the success of The Midcounties Co-operative which recently posted record revenues, profits and the largest ever dividend for its 440,000 members.”